John & Marliyn B's Blog Post
Monday, December 9th, 2013
Our adventure with Wheel for Fortune started with a dream. Last year my husband took me to Disney World for our 40th wedding anniversary and we had such a magically wonderful experience. I watched all the families with their children and grandchildren and dreamed of the day we could return with all of ours. I came home to go over the budget and realized it would require some serious planning. While watching our local news channel, WDAF TV Fox 4, I saw that the Wheel Mobile was coming to our area to recruit. Having watched Wheel of Fortune for 30 years and loving to play along, felt this was an opportunity to achieve our dream while doing something we love, playing a game.
I recruited my husband, son and daughter-in-law to tag along and off we went for a fun adventure. After filling out a brief information form, our names then went in a barrel for a random drawing. Yes, my name was drawn and I ran to the stage, knowing that this could be a sign of things to come. I solved the puzzle, won some Wheel of Fortune goodies and left with a good feeling that things might just be falling into place.
With summer now turning into fall, we were losing hope to hear from them. One night upon opening my e-mails, I see one titled Wheel of Fortune and tears of joy sprang to my eyes. I was called back for a final audition. The e-mail mentioned they were looking for couples in our area and if we felt that our significant other would be a good contestant, bring them along to the audition, as well. Knowing that we play every night together and most nights win, seemed to be the perfect scenario for us. We are definitely a together kind of couple.
At the audition, we seemed to be on fire at solving the puzzles. Having a love of playing the game made it much easier for us. The contestant recruiters were very helpful, giving you advice to help you in this part of the process. While standing in front of them, sharing about ourselves, we told our story and it was then that I realized the depth in which we wanted this, my lips quivered and I felt I wanted to cry. They could clearly see the passion we had for this dream.
Being told we would hear within two weeks seemed like an eternity but we left feeling hopeful that dreams can come true and prayed we would be contacted. It only took three days to hear and elated is an understatement. Seeing that we were going to be on the week titled “Disney Cruise Lines” now led us to believe this was a sign of great things to come.
We made the trip to L.A. with a friend, Rebecca, our daughter-in-law Melanie and two grandsons. They would be in the audience. We had an enjoyable evening the night before the show, but just before parting for the night our grandson upped the ante on our show. He asked us to please get him on TV. There is only one way for that to happen. We had to win.
Upon arriving at the studio, it was like a dream. The contestant recruiters were busy explaining all the rules, prepping and encouraging you to be a winning contestant and the hair and make-up team busy working to make you camera ready. How could you not feel like a television star? Upon meeting the other contestants, you realize that you all have something in common. You love Wheel of Fortune and playing the game at home, in the comfort of an easy chair. But this is not easy. Nerves are at an all-time high and waiting in anticipation of your turn seems like a lifetime. The game chosen for us was game number 5 and even though we were hoping to be earlier in the day but we certainly got our fair share at solving many puzzles from other tapings.
Before we know it, our turn has arrived and well, all we can say is, “it’s show time!” Tune in on Friday, December 13th, to see if fairy tales can come true!
Saturday, December 14th, 2013
Lights, Camera, Action! It is now our turn and our time had arrived. It is the culmination of something that we had only dreamed about. When we see Pat and Vanna walk out on stage, we get a feeling that we are just visiting our good, familiar friends. Vanna is decked out in a beautiful, teal sequined dress, the same exact color we are wearing. That same, this is a sign feeling washes over us. We both believe this dream is meant to be. Pat, as usual, is the perfect “make you feel at home” kind of guy. The stage is whimsical with many of the Disney characters present, which only adds excitement for the theme of our show. Minnie is especially adorable in her white princess gown.
The competition was tough. The couple in position one was a happy, young couple with four small children. Couple #2 had 2 two daughters and he had previous game show experience and had won. We wanted them both to do well be we had to win. We love competition in our family.
As the show began, it helped to get the first toss-up. No real nerves, just excitement. The second toss-up felt as smooth as it feels sitting at home. As the show progressed the other couples got turns, too. Uh-oh, we are behind.
During breaks, the hair and make-up ladies fixed us up and along with the contestant coordinators, kept us pumped up. We could win. At one point, during commercial break we had a realization that the next puzzle would be the prize puzzle. We know it was crucial to get this one. That round we kept focusing on the board that showed our winnings. How much would the prize puzzle be worth? How much money would we need to overtake couple #2?
On our turn, we just kept guessing letters until we thought we would be ahead. We solved it. As odd as it seems this is the only puzzle we both remember. The others were swept from our minds as soon as they were over. The final round we were ahead and we were elated when couple #1 solved the puzzle. Thankfully, we had kept our lead. All couples had winnings and we were off to the bonus round. Only one more step for the boys to get on TV. We had discussed ahead of time our plan, if indeed; we made it to the bonus round. What an utter surprise when the letters we chose beforehand were not the letters that came out of our mouth at all. Thank goodness!! The change, for whatever reason, was the right move and all the letters on the board lit up except for one.
For the rest of our lives, we will never forget the phrase, HOLD THE PHONE! The boys streamed onto the set and hugged us. They had gotten on TV. The prize amount was an afterthought, even though we were holding the “Million Dollar Wedge”. Our envelope turned out to being $35,000, enough to take all three kids and eight grandkids to DisneyWorld. Our dream is now a reality. The next game show chapter is a family one. The prize puzzle was a Disney Cruise for four. Now what game do we make our kids play to decide who goes with us?
What we really want people to know is that money and prizes come and go but what we will always remember is the experience and the wonderful people we met. Special thanks to the contestant coordinators and the hair and make-up team who we will always consider as friends rather than acquaintances. To the gentleman who helped us with the prize forms, thank you for teaching us a new word for “overflowing joy”. And yes, thanks to Wheel of Fortune for a dream come true with a very happy ending!